Tanito scorches Ba

Sports

LAE City secured a quarterfinal berth in the Oceania Football Confederation Champions League after a 1-0 win over Fiji’s Ba FC in their second Group A fixture yesterday in Port Vila, Vanuatu.
Winger Tutizama Tanito scored the match-winner in the 62nd minute after the Dwellers managed to pry open the Ba defence with some slick passing on the left edge.
An Emmanuel Simon cross found captain Raymond Gunemba hovering on the edge of the box and the group’s leading goal-scorer (four goals) stood up the Ba defence before tapping a pass inside to the Solomon Islander who fired a blistering shot 20-metres out.
The ball deflected through the legs of Ba’s left defender and beat goalkeeper Josaia Ratu as well as a second defender with the 24-year-old swamped by City teammates at Korman Stadium.
Lae, with the better goal difference of plus six, lead the group on six points ahead of local side Nalkutan FC, who beat Cook Islands’ Tupapa Maraerenga 4-0 in the afternoon’s main fixture.
The result sets up Friday’s clash between Lae and Nalkutan as a battle for group supremacy.
“I’m proud of the boys,” Lae City Dwellers coach Peter Gunemba said.
“When we saw Ba play on Saturday we were thinking ‘can we go through’, but we got our confidence and thought we could win and we did.”
“Ba is a very good side, very experienced in the Champions League but we also thought we could surprise them,” Gunemba said.
The Fijians were tight in defence and despite what seemed like unstoppable shots on goal, goalie Ratu kept a quick and powerful Lae strike force at bay for over an hour.
With his side out of the running for a place in the quarterfinals, Ba coach Ronil Kumar was somewhat lost for words at the full-time whistle.
“Actually I can’t say much about it. We learned a lot out of it,” Kumar said.
“We started the game really well but the thing was, you have to score if you want to win. We didn’t score, they win. They score, they win.”
Results: Tues, Feb 13 – Lae City 1 Ba FC 0, Nalkutan 4 Tupapa 0.

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